Monday, November 17, 2008

Taking things for granted

For the last week I have dreamt about high school every night. They have not been fun easy going keg party in the woods kind of dreams. They have been intense, wake you up in the middle of the night, kind of dreams. One involved my friend Stacey and I driving around in her grandfather’s boat sized car and running over a person who was crossing the road. Another took place at my friend Anne’s house and involved a screaming baby that no one could find. Yet another involved me being busted for smoking cigarettes in my parents back yard and my dad forcing me to eat the enitre pack as punishment. Something about having my parents around casues me to revert back into a teenager.

This week has been the toughest week of my life. I wasn’t expecting my parents move here to be so intense. When I tell people that my parents have moved to San Diego everyone says how great it is, how lucky I am to have babysitters. While I am so very lucky to have them here at the same time there is a terrible sadness intertwined with the happiness. I don’t feel like explaining that they are here so that my parents can be surrounded by family when my dad passes. The truth is my dad is dying which is not easily said during polite conversation.

When we picked them up at the airport I could barely recognize my own father. He doesn’t look like himself. When I left them with their bags to pull the car around I was gulping back tears. He cannot walk on his own anymore; it’s hard for him to speak. Sometimes he doesn’t know who I am. I had to help my 63 year old father use the bathroom. I think that was the hardest moment so far because he was so humiliated. I was not prepared for this. The first couple of days of their arrival were the hardest because I couldn’t recognize my own father inside his body; he just didn’t seem like him. He seemed like a stranger. Now I can carefully shove past, layer by layer, and see underneath the sickness and his confusion and find him there as always with the same dry sarcastic sense of humor. He is different but at moments his personality is back and he jokes and laughs as much as always. There are brief moments daily when I see the old him again. Those are the moments I cherish most of all.

What kills me the most is that I spent three weeks in Chicago this summer and I took for granted every moment. I wish I had realized then that in a few months he would be unable to walk to the park with us, That I would no longer have the pleasure of long leaisurely conversations with him, that He would no longer be able to thoroughly kick my ass at ping pong, nor would Amelia be able to demand that he play hop scotch with her in the back yard. Even though I spend everyday with him I miss him so much.

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